Wednesday, March 07, 2007

your first house...

don't get too excited, it's not like we are even anywhere close to purchasing, or looking into purchasing, our first home... BUT- in the playing around that i do online, i have realized something- boyfriend and i have very different perspectives on what our first home should be like.

out here in cali, the housing market is out of control. even though it is a "buyer's market" right now, housing costs are still extremely expensive. a run down, looks like shit house, is still over $500,000. so when i look at houses online, i'm looking at ones that don't look like crap. and boyfriend insists on looking at the ones that look scary. he says that our first house should be a fixer upper. i totally agree with this, but i don't think that it should cost a ton of money to fix it up. and if it does, then we should just buy the nicer house that needs less fixing up.

am i wrong in wanting a house that actually looks decent? i don't think we need a brand new house at all, but if the price difference between a nicer house and a piece of crap house is under $100,000- i would rather spend more to get the nicer house that will require less money and time to fix.

boyfriend makes me feel like i shouldn't want something nice. he tells me that i am not thinking in reality. but my reality does not include moving into a dump for my first home. i will not move blake into some house that looks terrifying and gross. like i said before, i'm not insisting on a brand new, top of the line house- but what is wrong with wanting something decent??? am i totally not thinking realistically? what was your first house like?

24 comments:

Becky said...

i wanted something decent. but so did matt. he felt the same as you. that its ok if its a fixer upper but it couldn't be a dump either. in the end all the new homes were selling for like 10 grand more than older homes with less square footage so we built our first house. which was awesome for me cuz i love having a brand new house!

norcalgirl28 said...

Absolutely, positively, agree with you. You know that overhead you have been waiting for in the garage? Well, that is how a "fixer upper" will be. If it is livable, and not gross, things will wait and wait and wait until things you were going to do "the minute you moved in" are still not done years later. We bought in a definite "buyers market" because we got credit for the bathroom floors and a partial credit for the roof, which we did do right away. Credits are unheard of now in California, we were lucky. Those are just my thoughts. You are so exhausted with everything that needs doing in a house, moving in, yard work, etc., that it is a chore to do anything else right away.

Loren said...

For our first house I also bought a new home; in the end it comes out to being cheaper! It needs absolutely no repaires - you can't beat that. I agree with you, your bf is probably looking more to the possibility of fixing it and selling it and making a good profit of it and then buy a nicer home, maybe?

Wendy said...

As we are not handy people, my first house was decent structurally, but needed cosmetic work, because we bought from a lady that liked pink...pink carpet, pink tile, pink vinyl, and even the outside was pink. We depinked it before we even moved in.

My next house was brand new, which was great, but it cost a fortune to put in window coverings, landscaping in the mud pit of a backyard, and a fence and deck.

By the third house, we knew we wanted something in good shape and relatively new, and we ended up with a house we love, and the only thing we had to do was have a barn built, but that's because we a buttload of dirtbikes that needed a place to live.

Anonymous said...

I don't own my own home but have plenty of friends who have just gone through the process. one thing that they all have STRESSED over and over. don't buy a dump. fixer uppers are fine but you don't know what's inside those walls until you actually start tearing into them. Most figured they'd spend 15-20,000 to update and ended up more in the 35 - 50,000 range with all the unexpected issues they came across.

luv u jenn...

Tammy

Anonymous said...

unfortunately jenn you had to wait entirely too long to get your first house. The prices are out of control even for a fixer upper. I was going to move last september but my morgage would double for the same size house no matter how I put money on it and I said "I will just do home improvements. You couldn't even move out here unless you are in the high crime areas...FUCK that! Sometimes to get what you want you have to drive way away from everything...like everyone moved to palmdale who worked in LA just to get affordable housing. Are you willing to go further into the sticks and is there even a housing market if you do? Sorry, brother Jim

Aimee said...

I live in California too - We're in the process of buying a home that is not a fixer, but also not new. Which basically means, New Floor! New Cabinets! And I get to pick them! Woot!

I think it depends on if you're handy or not. If you are and can do a lot of the labor, it might be cheaper to do "fixer." But it has to be in a good neighborhood - which probably isn't going to happen for the money savings. :) Just my two cents.

alison said...

Personally, I think your number one priority with real estate should be location. If it's in a nice neighborhood with nice schools, then it should definitely be in the running. Buying a fixer-upper depends on how much time and money you're willing to put into it. Do you have a lot of time to spend fixing up your house every weekend? Is it something you would enjoy? Because fixing it up is a lot more than new paint and new flooring. It gets to be expensive, time-consuming, and irritating. I'm with you----buy something that is in fairly decent condition. With one little boy already and possibly a baby on the way in the next few years, you'll want to spend your time and energy on your family.

Brandy said...

I rarely comment but thought yu should know, a fixer-upper could end up costing more than a nicer house. There are construction costs (labor), and then there are costs for whatever you are doing (new cabinets, floor, plumbing, electrical). Whaever y'all decide, make sure you do a bit of research on the prices of changing/fixing something. Then you'll have costs to compare with buying a nicer home.

thethinker said...

I have to agree with you, out of personal preference. I think you shouldn't settle for anything so far below what you're expecting. Decent doesn't have to mean a mansion, and it doesn't have to mean a house that's falling apart. Just find a balance.

sweatpantsmom said...

I know how hard that can be. We just bought our first house four years ago, and I have to say I was a little naiive - I was thinking Architectural Digest when our budget was more like Home Depot.

The funny thing is, after house shopping for awhile, we absolutely hated most of the houses we saw because they were so damn ugly - one person's upgrade is another person's nightmare. So in the end we really wanted more of a fixer upper (although I'm with you - it can't be a dump), something that still had the basic lines of the house that we could design to our vision. We love our house now, because it absolutely reflects who we are.

JR's Thumbprints said...

My wife and I bought a fixer upper back in 1992 and I'm still fixing.

Yorksdevil said...

The house we live in was a complete dump when we moved in. I can't remember myself, having been only 2 years old at the time, but it's lovely now.

Elizabeth said...

We bought our first house in 1996 for $50,000.00! I don't know how anyone can afford to buy a house in California!

But seriously, I have to agree with you. If it's just a matter of a few cosmetic fixes, that's one thing. Too many fixes are likely to just stress you out and take a lot more money to fix than you think. Plus, there are a lot of little things that homeowners need that really add up in cost. You'll need a lawnmower, more furniture, shelving, all the things that you don't need in an apartment. So my suggestion is not to buy too much of a fixer-upper.

Kristen said...

We want something decent but that has some cosmetic issues- stuff that is easy to fix- nothing structural or huge that you can't do yourself. I think that's reasonable and will bring the price down enough.

Mieke said...

We have bought one of both. The fixer became a HUGE headache and cost way more than it should have. Once we finally got it "fixed up", we made a little money and used that to buy our newer home with no fixing up involved. Was it worth it??
No.
So much stress and money and time wasted, I would not do it again.
Go for the newer home! They also tend to have a better re-sale value. I am in real estate and have had my share of selling both, and now it seems more buyers are wanting a newer home. Good Luck!!

Your Blog Goddess Brethern said...

You are not crazy... I completely agree. Besides, who wants to do home improvement projects all weekend EVERY weekend. And if your honey is like mine, you'll have half finished projects all over the house for YEARS. And he'll resent your "nagging" to finish it and you'll resent constantly asking WHEN things will get finished.

Look at it as saving yourself some fights and resentments! Get the nicer house! :-)

DDM said...

We bought a brand new house. With NO upgrades or extras. A basic house. The fact that it was new (8 years ago) made it nice because we didn't have to worry about expensive repairs on irritating things like plumbing and the roof. The downside is that it's bare bones with linoleum and cheap carpet. We're in the process of updating and remodelling. I really like that we are doing this stuff now because we're financially able to, and because we WANT to, not because we HAVE to. Ya know? I say spend some the money to have a house that won't need BIG MONEY stuff done to it any time soon.

RWA said...

If the difference is really just $100,000 or so, that's probably worth the extra cost for less work.

Just my humble opinion. Don't tell boyfriend I said that, though.

TeeRish said...

I think there are possibilities out there that you can both agree on, and I don't think it's impossible for you to find a house that doesn't need a ton of work! You can do it...you just need to start looking and be patient.

Our first house was in a crappy neighborhood but was the only affordable house we could find and it was brand new!

It really is a buyers' market right now. Our second house was initially listed for over $100k more than we paid for it! It's not new, so it definitely needs work. But I agree with norcalgirl28 - unless you guys fix up your new home BEFORE you move in, it'll never get done. So make sure you choose a house that you'll feel comfortable in.

carrie said...

Location. Location. Location. Especially for Blake. Do not overlook this part of the homebuying experience.

I would've lived in our first house (location-wise) forever if I could. But we outgrew it with the 3rd child (and possibly we just outgrew it. period.). It was a typical, 2 year-old, nice house with no crazy upgrades (we did all that in the 6 years we lived there but I consider it maintenance more than anything else -- things like tile floors, paint, landscaping, decks and fixtures). Similar situation with this house, only it's bigger.

Just go easy, and you will know what you want when you see it and all the components fall into place. That's all I can say -- also, I can't imagine doing this AND planning a wedding, you're amazing!

Carrie

Jenn said...

I kinda agree with boyfriend on this. If you can buy a house that is structuraly sound and just LOOKS like shit you can get much more for your money. Plus you don't want to pay $$ for someone elses decorating, do you? You can't look at paint or floors or fixtures. That can all be changed to what YOU want it to be. You look at room size and layout. The dirtier it is, the cheaper you can get it for. Dirt you can clean. Then you put in the floors you like, paint it all nice in the colors you like. Add the extras that YOU want. Make it yours!

dcrmom said...

I would not want to move into a major fixer-upper. Our first house was 100 years old, was in decent shape, and we still worked on it non-stop the whole 6 years we lived there. Then we moved to this house, which was 2 years old, and it was HEAVEN to be in a new house. So I'm on your side on this one. But I'm also not on the West coast. The housing market here in PA is reasonable.

Virginia Belle said...

yeesh, i don't know what to tell you. y'all live in the hell on earth that is the california housing market. everything there is totally warped. i don't know how anyone affords homes out there. it's absurd.

all i know is, my friends who have renovated their houses have been VERY stressed out and tired during the process. so it depends on if that's worth saving a hunk of change to you.

i think norcalgirl28 brings up good points. once you move in, you won't get around to actually doing stuff. well, you might, but it will be a while. aimee also brings up a good point -- how much labor can y'all do on your own? because THAT is what will save you bucks. the materials don't cost ALL that much.

and alison brings up the excellent point of location. never underestimate the importance of location!!! being in a good school district is key. alison also brings up your near future and your lifestyle. excellent points.

gosh, you have a lot of smart readers....then again, i am biased.

i'm thinking that you need to determine what kinds of fixing you are willing to do. tile, carpet, countertops -- these are all relatively cheap and easy to do. but when you start getting into your electrical system or your plumbing or more structural things, then you might want to just go ahead and buy something newer. it probably wouldn't be worth the hassle and expense.

OH, and make sure you get a FLAT LOT. you will HATE a slanted driveway/yard more than you know!!! take it from me. i am speaking from experience. i didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but it IS.